Victoria & Abdul: Film Review

I didn’t look much into Victoria & Adbul so I assumed it was going to be this straightforward (and possibly boring) royal drama so I was pleasantly surprised by how funny and uplifting it was.

The film tells the “mostly” real life story of Queen Victoria (Judi Dench) and her blossoming friendship with Indian clerk Abdul Karim (Ali Fazal), who comes over to England in the late 1880s to present her with a ceremonial coin. She makes him her footman and then her spiritual adviser and Urdu teacher. This seriously displeases the Royal Household – members including her son Bertie (Eddie Izzard) and private secretary Henry Ponsonby (the late Tim Pigott-Smith) – who believes their friendship is inappropriate.

I love that Stephen Frears made this such a light-hearted and fun movie in the first half because it is quite bonkers how the duo came together so it’s rather fitting. It also made the later moments more moving and heartwarming.

Dench is always fantastic and she was no exception here – playing the cantankerous, old, moody monarch perfectly while Fazal was just lovely. He looked handsome and had that fish out of water naivete and a charming sincerity about him.

My only complaint is about the length of the film. Towards the end, there were perhaps too many instances of the household trying to break them up and send Karim back to India which meant the pace began to drag a bit and the emotional ending didn’t have quite as much impact as it could have done.

Regardless of that, the movie is charming and lovely and such an uplifting watch.

In cinemas Friday 15th September 

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